Resolving the HomeKit can’t find accessory error

I’m adding a new camera system to my automated home. I chose the EufyCam 2C Pro system, partially because it’s made by Anker, but mostly because it supports HomeKit Secure Video.

However, it was a major headache getting the system configured to use HomeKit. The issue is that the process of adding the HomeBase2 as a HomeKit accessory would fail. I tried doing it in HomeKit directly, and I tried doing it through the Eufy Security app. Adding the HomeBase2 would always fail.

Making it even more frustrating, each attempt took several minutes, and seemed to work until the final step. HomeKit found the HomeBase, it asked for its location and camera names, and so on. It wasn’t until the final step when it would eventually timeout with a frustrating “Accessory not found” error. Well, FU HomeKit, you found it just fine five minutes ago when I started this process!

How did I finally resolve it? By (inconveniently) connecting the HomeBase directly to the router. (I previously had it, like everything else in my home, connected to a switch. A professional-grade switch, I might add, not some cheap Amazon Basics crap.) Once I moved the connection, adding the accessory was fast and smooth. Apparently, the HomeBase (or maybe HomeKit) doesn’t like being behind a switch. Word to the wise.

Livboj is IKEA’s excellent Qi charger

Qi inductive charging of devices is a convenient pain in the ass. Convenient because you don’t need to plug in; a pain in the ass because it’s slow and finicky. It requires too much attention to precisely align your device with the hidden charging coils — and if you’re a fraction of an inch off, no charging occurs.

The IKEA Livboj Wireless Charger e2010 significantly helps with the alignment problem. It’s very rare that my iPhone doesn’t immediately begin charging when I place it in almost any orientation onto the Livboj. I also have a Belkin charging pad, which cost 7x more than the IKEA model, but is very particular about how the device must be positioned.

The only downside to the Livboj is that the bottom has rubber bumpers, which may cause damage to finished wood furniture. I avoid any issues by placing the Livboj on a drink coaster.

To be fair, IKEA keeps the price low by not including a cable or power supply. All you get is the charging pad, but you almost certainly have the necessary pieces sitting in a drawer anyway. Well, except the pad uses a USB-C cable, so maybe you don’t have one of those lying around (yet). In that case, add a Lillhut braided cable for $5, and you’re still far below the price of the Belkin.

Pandemic Drip Dry

“What’s all this about?” — I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been asked about the album of photos that I’ve been posting on Flickr. Now, I am closing the project and explaining its genesis.

It began after a conversation with a friend about how our daily lives had slowed during the COVID-19 lockdown. For me, washing dishes by hand and letting them air dry was a mindful approach to the monotony seeping into every aspect of the day.

The symbolism of cleanliness, nutrition, and patience was intentional — why should I hurry to complete this mundane task? I had nowhere to go. The photographs reflect the everyday sameness, but also the quiet persistence of waiting for the plague to pass. There are gaps in the timeline because not every day of the lockdown can be recalled.

Now, two years into the pandemic and one year of this project, our Sisyphean routines continue due to the ignorance and callousness of others. But in these times, this means I am still here. Still washing. Still waiting.

How to make portable backups using Hyper Backup

If you use Hyper Backup to create a local copy of your Synology NAS (which you probably should), you will discover that its default setting creates a proprietary format. In my opinion, this is bad if you want a portable and universal emergency backup of your drive. If you see “HBK” files on your backup drive, you’re heading down a path that will cause you headaches if you ever want to restore your data to something other than a Synology device.

Like most Synology products, the Hyper Backup interface isn’t clear, but it is possible to turn off the proprietary format. When you create the backup set, turn on the option for “single version.” Yes, you’ll lose the ability to restore past versions of a file (ala Time Machine), but you’ll gain a simple and transportable copy of your files. (If you really need versioning, look into turning on the Snapshot Replication service for the directories where it would be beneficial.)

Using a Battery Replacer

We all have a nifty bit of decoration or electronics that we’d use more often if it didn’t eat batteries like a Mormon teen devouring Cheetos after a date.

A device called a “battery eliminator” allows you to run a device using a power supply, even if it was designed to only operate with batteries.

A battery eliminator works by connecting a fake battery to a power supply, via a thin cord that snakes out through the battery door. This one battery carries all the necessary juice to run the item, but you need to fill the other battery slots with dummy batteries that complete the item’s circuit.

Simple, and it works great, so long as you don’t mind tethering the item to a wall wart. (And, duh, if you do mind, just go back to using regular batteries!)

The only obstacle to using a batter eliminator, from my perspective, is the cost. You also have to buy one that meets the specifications of the device you want to power, so it may not be possible to use the eliminator with other devices that you own. That is, the eliminator has to match both the power, and the battery size, the device requires. (Such as, 3v and AAA batteries.)

A slightly more flexible (but costlier) version of an eliminator is one that lets you switch between different voltage output. That’s what I use, but note that it’s still tied to replacing AA-sized batteries. Visit the listing for the Lenick Adjustable Battery Replacer on Amazon, and it will lead you to all the other available configurations. (I just noticed a bring-your-own-power-supply model that works with a USB phone charger, I’ll have to try that one next!)

The Tub Shroom works

I needed a new drain filter/hair catcher for my tub-shower combo. I came across a strange “As Seen on TV” product called Tub Shroom. After perusing the numerous positive review on the Amazon, I bought one. Damned if the reviews aren’t right. The goofy thing really works. Other than that you should buy one, my only recommendation is to notice that it comes in different sizes, so make sure you get the right one for your situation. Oh, also, don’t be an idiot and cram it all the way into the drain hole — leave it sticking up slightly as shown on the package. (I swear, Amazon reviews are an intelligence test for some people.)

A secret of computer cleaning

So, you’re working at your computer, and you notice a speck of dust or something on your screen. You reach up to wipe it away, and now you’ve replaced the speck with something even worse — a smeary fingerprint.

Or, you’re working at our computer, and you look down at the keyboard and notice a crumb about to slip into the depths of your computer. If you’re using a notebook computer, you can pick it up and turn upside down, hoping to dislodge the crumb (and hope the power cord doesn’t knock over your cup of coffee). Or, you can use your blunt finger to try to remove the crumb, but that will most likely force it inside while adding a few letters of gibberish to whatever it is you’re working on.

The better answer in both scenarios? Use a large foundation makeup brush. The biggest, softest one you can find. (Check the local Five Below, or the teen aisle at Target. Here’s one at Amazon.) A soft brush is an unsung hero of computer cleanliness. Seriously.

Automating Ulysses to MarsEdit hand-off

In my continuing quest to use both Ulysses and MarsEdit in my writing workflow, I’ve created a Keyboard Maestro automation. This one sends HTML from the clipboard to a new post, while remove the H1 tag and placing it as the title of the post in the MarsEdit window. It’s a bit brute-force, and could be more elegant, but it works. (See this macro on GitHub.)

For more on this topic, see: Sending text from Ulysses to MarsEdit

gordon meyer macro screenshot

Firex double beep meaning and replacement

Recently, the Firex smoke and carbon dioxide alarm on the first floor of my home started beeping. It was an unusual double-beep, not the usual low battery sound I’ve heard it make before. (Also unusual is that the beeping started during the day, not in the wee hours of the morning, as is usually the case. Just happenstance, I’m confident, but a welcome change.)

After much searching and reading online, I learned that a Firex double-beep signals that the detector has stopped working and needs to be replaced.

Unfortunately, Firex was absorbed by Kidde a few years ago. (The date of manufacture on my detector was 2004, so it should have been replaced years ago, but seriously, who checks their smoke detectors for an expiration date?)

Thankfully, the Kidde i12010SCO is a replacement for the hard-wired Firex FADC that I had. It just needs a plug adapter to connect to the Firex wires. (The wires power the device, even though it has a battery, and they signal other detectors in the home to sound off when any of the detectors are triggered.)

I opted for this particular Kidde because it has a built-in 10-year Lithium battery, which by the time the battery dies, the detector will have reached its expiration date.

I should mention that even with the necessary wiring adapter, there’s a tiny bit of work involved. The mounting ring that held the Firex needs to be replaced with the one for the Kidde, but in my case, that was just a couple of screws.